A DESPERATE mother turned to drug dealing to get out of financial problems.

Karly Lester has been spared jail after police found crack cocaine and cannabis in her home on Canvey last year.

A warrant was executed at the 32-year-old’s address, in Grafton Road, on May 3.

Officers found 40 wraps of crack cocaine along with 9.4g of cannabis along with several mobile phones used for drug dealing.

The crack cocaine was worth between £1,260 and £1,350. There was also £410 in cash seized. Lester and one of her children were present during the raid.

She was interviewed and later charged with possession of Class A and B drugs with intent to supply.

Lester went on to admit both counts and appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday for sentencing.

Mitigating, Tony Ventham told the court that Lester had been coerced into the drugs trade by an experienced dealer.

He said she was “vulnerable” due to the fact that she was trying to care for her two young children, one of whom has health issues, and in her desperation fell into dealing.

Mr Ventham said: “She is someone who, prior to May last year, had never committed a crime in any way shape or form.

“She was trying to care for her children.

“In that mental state she was vulnerable and allowed herself to be tempted into drug dealing.

“She hasn’t come to the attention of the authorities since. She will never commit any further offences.

“She knows using drugs in any shape or form leads to slipping into the arms of dealers who will use them in any way they can.”

Judge Samantha Leigh decreed that Lester was not a major player in any drugs enterprise.

She said: “She was struggling financially as so many people are. This was totally, as she now realises, the wrong step to take to get out of the situation she was in.”

Lester received 24 months in prison suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work and 60 days of rehabilitation.

Judge Leigh added: “If you do as I ask, you will not go to prison.”